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					    A Call to Action:

  A Preliminary Report on Current
Air Quality Levels and the Impacts
      of the Proposed WesPac Oil
              Terminal in Pittsburg
                        A Call to Action:
       A Preliminary Report on Current Air Quality
         Levels and the Impacts of the Proposed
            WesPac Oil Terminal in Pittsburg




Publication date: January 21, 2014
Location: Pittsburg, California
 This report is a collaborative project with all content written and
compiled by members of the Pittsburg Defense Council (PDC) and
             Global Community Monitor (GCM) staff.




                 Publication date: January 21, 2014
                   Location: Pittsburg, California
                             TABLE OF CONTENTS


Executive Summary                                pg.   1
Who We Are                                       pg.   3
Pittsburg Background                             pg.   4
Medically Vulnerable Community                   pg.   6
Proposed WesPac Project                          pg.   11
Citizen Air Sampling                             pg.   13
Air Monitoring Results                           pg.   18
Recommendations                                  pg.   22
References                                       pg.   23
[Intentionally Left Blank]
                                   Executive Summary

Pittsburg Energy Infrastructure Project
WesPac Energy Group (WesPac) has proposed to reactivate an enormous 125-acre crude oil
storage project in Pittsburg, CA at the NRG, Energy Pittsburg Generating Station. WesPac’s oil
terminal would bring in an average daily amount of 242,000 barrels (equivalent to 10 million
gallons) of crude oil per day by ship and rail -- more than 100 tanker cars each day -- using
refurbished pipelines to deliver it for storage to PG&E’s old tanks near the delta waterfront. The
maximum daily amount of crude oil to be brought in is reported to be 375,000 barrels
(15,750,000 gallons) per day.1

If the WesPac project is approved, residents would be exposed to noise, diesel and fine
particulate, chemicals and odors from rail traffic, in addition to pollution from hazardous
materials being carried as freight. The proposed WesPac project’s pollution could also
significantly increase cancer and asthma rates for Pittsburg. The threats to public health, air and
water quality, and safety posed by this project are unacceptable. The City of Pittsburg could
also suffer economically; Pittsburg homeowners would most likely see a decrease in their
property values, and downtown businesses may be jeopardized if visitors stay away because of
the noise, smells and additional pollution.

Because industrial accidents can and do happen, a crude oil or chemical spill associated with
the proposed WesPac terminal could devastate the Bay and the Delta, damaging fishing and
recreation activities. The recent devastation associated with rail explosions in Lac-Mégantic,
Quebec; Casselton, ND; and Aliceville, AL are just a few examples of potential scenarios in
PIttsburg. The crude oil pipeline leaks and spills in Kalamazoo, MI and Mayflower, AR led to
entire neighborhood evacuations and a costly ongoing environmental clean up.

Pittsburg is a “Medically Vulnerable Community”
Pittsburg is a community intertwined with industry. Industrial facilities can be seen, heard and
smelled from parks, homes and children’s schools. New data analysis by the Contra Costa
County Health Services shows that between 2009 and 2011, Pittsburg had the highest rates of
asthma emergency room visits in Contra Costa County. During that period, Pittsburg had over
100 cases of asthma hospitalizations per 10,000 Pittsburg residents. In comparison, the Orinda
and Moraga area had less than 17 asthma hospitalizations per 10,000 people. According to the
Contra Costa County Health Services, “This evidence supports the presumption that the
community in Pittsburg is medically vulnerable.”2

Sample Results
Due to the severity of the asthma epidemic and existence of other industries, residents began
asking questions about air quality. The Pittsburg air monitor station was closed in 2008 by the
Bay Area Air Quality Management District.3 Given the lack of a local air monitoring station,
residents wanted to know what the baseline air quality is in Pittsburg, prior to potential increases
from the WesPac project.


                                                                                                     1
Pittsburg Defense Council, a local grassroots group working to educate residents about health
and safety issues associated with the proposed WesPac project, was trained by Global
Community Monitor to conduct a pilot baseline air quality study. This training was done after a
local "Toxics Tour," where Pittsburg residents and other local concerned citizens toured various
industrial facilities that are already in operation in and around the Pittsburg area including:
General Chemical, Criterion Catalyst & Technologies, GenOn Pittsburg Generating Station, K2
Pure Solutions, Dow Chemical, USS Posco, and United Spiral Pipe. Community leaders
gathered 10 air samples between December 14-31, 2013 in and around Pittsburg, California.

According to Dr. Mark Chernaik, data interpretation expert with Science for Citizens, the
Pittsburg dataset has some of the highest levels of diesel particulate seen in filtered air samples
collected in the United States by community based air monitoring projects. Dr. Chernaik stated
that diesel air sample results “are high enough to be associated with an excess risk of
cardiovascular and respiratory hospitalizations on the day of exposure.” All five of the filtered air
samples analyzed contained diesel levels high enough to be associated with these health risks.

An additional five air samples were analysed for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Four of the five
air samples contained PM2.5 exceeding the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US
EPA) 24-hour short-term National Ambient Air Quality Standard. All five samples were
designated “unhealthy” for sensitive populations when compared to the US EPA’s Air Quality
Index.

Recommendations
Due to the medical vulnerability of the Pittsburg community, proximity to sensitive receptors,
poor air quality and the high probability of accidents, Pittsburg Defense Council and Global
Community Monitor make the following recommendations to the City of Pittsburg officials and
relevant State and Federal agencies responsible for research, permitting and approval of the
WesPac Project:

(1) For the Pittsburg Planning Commission to NOT approve the Recirculated Draft
Environmental Impact Report (RDEIR) and to recommend to the Pittsburg City Council that they
reject the project;

(2) For the Bay Area Air Quality Managment District (BAAQMD) to re-install a permanent air
monitoring station in Pittsburg; and

(3) For the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to designate Pittsburg as a
Community Air Risk Evaluation (CARE) Community.




                                                                                                    2
                                        Who We Are

Pittsburg Defense Council (PDC) is a grassroots group fighting the proposed WesPac oil
storage and transfer terminal.4 The group formed in September 2013 to oppose the proposed
WesPac project. Neighbors got to work and started to inform the community through intensive
outreach efforts that included door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, hosting community
meetings and activating a website. The group received support from various Bay Area non-
governmental organizations (NGO’s) and organizers in surrounding cities. From this effort,
hundreds of people from the local community and Bay Area communities have joined forces and
are now fighting relentlessly to STOP WESPAC’s proposed project.

Global Community Monitor (GCM) founded in 2001, trains and supports communities in the
use of environmental monitoring tools to understand the impact of fossil fuel industry pollution
on their health and the environment. GCM's work focuses on disempowered "fenceline"
communities harmed by serious air pollution from industrial sources and whose concerns
agencies and responsible corporations are ignoring.5




                                                                                                   3
                                  Pittsburg Background

Pittsburg, California is a city located at the intersection of Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers
in eastern Contra Costa County, about 40 miles northeast of San Francisco. The City of
Pittsburg is part of a proposed waterfront economic development initiative which considers the
deep water channel, marine terminals, railroad lines infrastructure as unique features for further
industrial development.

Downtown Revitalization, A Community in Transition
The City of Pittsburg has invested significant resources to beautify and improve its downtown
area. Downtown Pittsburg is known as “Old Town” and now includes renovated cannery
buildings with small-craft marinas, several new housing projects, a renovated public marina, fine
food, and unique shopping experience.

Pittsburg residents are proud of what city officials have achieved through these efforts. The
City’s general plan states that “downtown revitalization is an issue of citywide importance. A vital
Downtown can provide identity and a sense of place for all of Pittsburg.”6 Old Town is where
local residents and visitors enjoy going out with family and friends to eat, to attend arts & crafts
fairs, and to enjoy of the variety of products and services offered by local businesses.

Demographics
Pittsburg is a small “majority minority” town of about 63,000 people. According to the 2010
Census, the residents are 44% White, 18.8% Black, 32.2% Hispanic, 13.1% Asian Pacific
Islander, and 0.8% American Indian or Alaskan Native. The median age is 32 years old.

Pittsburg and neighboring Bay Point are home to high percentages of families surviving on low
incomes. Table 1 below indicates the proportion of residents in each city living at 100% of the
Federal Poverty Rate. The Federal Poverty level for a single person is $11,344 a year; for a
family of four it is $22,314.7

Table 1: Poverty Rates of Contra Costa Cities, 2010
Concord                                            9.5%

Antioch                                            12.1%

Pittsburg                                          16.3%

Richmond                                           18.3%

Bay Point                                          31.9%


As the following table details, half of Pittsburg residents earn under $50,000 a year, including
one-third earning incomes under $35,000:



                                                                                                   4
Table 2: Income Levels of Pittsburg Residents
$0 - $34,999                                    33%

$35,000 - $49,999                               17.2%

$50,000 - $74,999                               22.6%

$75,000 - $99,999                               14.6%

According to a May 2013 report by Contra Costa Health Services, 19% of Pittsburg residents
have no health insurance coverage. This is significantly higher than the county average of
12%.8




                                                                                             5
                         Medically Vulnerable Community

Asthma rates
Between 2009 and 2011, Pittsburg had the highest rates of asthma hospitalization in Contra
Costa County. Over 100 cases of asthma hospitalizations per 10,000 Pittsburg residents were
documented by Contra Costa County Health Services. In comparison, the Orinda and Moraga
area had less than 17 asthma hospitalizations per 10,000 people (see map and table below).9
Correspondence with staff at the agency stated “this evidence supports the presumption that the
community in Pittsburg is medically vulnerable.”10

According to the California Healthy Kids Survey for Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD)
conducted in 2010-11, 24% of elementary school age students reported having asthma and
22% of students reported having trouble breathing (eg, shortness of breath, wheezing, or a
sense of lightness in the chest) when not exercising. This survey was completed by ~459
students attending a public elementary school in PUSD.11

The Office of the Attorney General has weighed in on the WesPac project, citing health
concerns as well: “...the residents of Pittsburg are already facing some of the highest pollution
burdens in California, and, for example, are in the 98th percentile for emergency room visits for
asthma…”12




                                                                                                6
Age	
  Adjusted	
  	
  Asthma	
  Emergency	
  Room	
  Visit	
  and	
  
          HospitalizaKon	
  Rates	
  by	
  Zip	
  Code	
  




       Source:	
  OSHPD	
  ConfidenKal	
  Datasets	
  for	
  Contra	
  Costa,	
  2009-­‐2011;	
  Denominators	
  from	
  2010	
  Census	
  
                                                                                                                                      7
Asthma	
  rates	
  comparing	
  by	
  city	
  and	
  to	
  
                     county	
  
                Age Adjusted Asthma ED and Hospitalization Rates per 10,00 People Per Year!
                                ED visits!          Hospitalizations!           Combined!
                  Region!
                          Rate!            ±!    Rate!            ±!      Rate!           ±!
              Pittsburg!         114.0!       3.6!      18.2!         1.5!       132.3!      3.9!
              Richmond!           86.1!       2.3!      18.8!         1.1!       104.9!      2.5!
              CCC!                62.8!       0.8!       11.0!        0.3!        73.8!      0.8!


     Age Adjusted Rates of Combined Asthma Hospitalizations and ED Visits per 10,000 people per year!
                                       Pittsburg!                  Richmond!                    Contra Costa County!
             Race!
                               Rate!            ±!       Rate!                    ±!       Rate!                     ±!
 Black/African American!           290.4!            14.9!          253.5!              8.4!            241.4!             5.1!
 American Indian, Alaska
 Native!                            38.0!            38.0!            68.0!            41.6!              71.8!           16.3!

 Asian/Pac Islander!                64.2!             7.3!            40.7!             4.4!              34.9!            1.5!
 Hispanic/Latino!                   89.1!             4.8!            64.5!             3.0!              64.3!            1.5!
 White!                            161.2!            10.0!            74.1!             5.2!              51.9!            1.0!
 Other!                            146.0!            23.2!          108.6!             13.1!              93.4!            4.9!


 Source:	
  OSHPD	
  ConfidenKal	
  Datasets	
  for	
  Contra	
  Costa,	
  2009-­‐2011;	
  Denominators	
  from	
  2010	
  Census


                                                                                                                                   8
Personally Affected
Drewcillia Wyatt, Pittsburg resident since November 2005, started suffering from respiratory
related issues after moving to the area. Wyatt, a charismatic in-home care service provider,
says that sirens announcing the release of vapors from the facilities behind her house go off
twice a day; and when they do, she and her neighbors are told to go inside their houses and
close all windows. “During the summer, I have to turn off the air conditioning, otherwise the
smell of hot vinegar or sulfur, from the vapors, fills the rooms in my house. When this smell hits
you, it burns your nose, eyes, and skin.” 13

Her respiratory issues have developed into chronic conditions of asthma, and sometimes
pneumonia and bronchitis. Now she must use her asthma medication, albuterol sulfate,
inhalation solution, (0.083%, 2.5 mg), two to three times a day, and sometimes every four hours.
She was going to her doctor so much that at some point, her doctor recommended that she
purchase a vaporizer; and have it at her house instead of paying for doctor’s visits. “My allergy
doctor said that all this was environmentally related, but the doctor could not actually provide me
with a written diagnosis”, she states.

Besides respiratory related issues, her ophthalmologist diagnosed her with pink eye, “...because
my eyes get so irritated, one time I even had blood in my eyes”. She adds, “...but I know it is
that vapor the facilities are releasing because when I go away for a few weeks to do in-house
care or I go away on vacation, almost all of my health issues go away, but the minute I am back,
they come back”.

Members of PDC met Drewcillia Wyatt while canvassing her block in mid-November 2013. PDC
members consider this engaging woman to be the voice of many Pittsburg residents who are
also victims of industrial pollution and suffer environmental health related issues.

Current Pollution
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) 2012
preliminary data set, the city of Pittsburg (zipcode 94565) has eight active registered stationary
sources of pollution.14 These facilities transferred or released into the air, water and land over
40 different toxic chemicals, totalling almost 100,000 pounds of toxic emissions. 20% of the
toxic air emissions consist of cancer causing chemicals.

The TRI may not include all operating facilities due to specific requirements on the amount of
emissions released and type of operating facility.

Overburdened Population
Pittsburg is a community intertwined with industry. Industrial facilities can be seen, heard and
smelled from parks, homes and children’s schools. Despite industry’s efforts to be a “good
neighbor,” these companies are ultimately failing the communities that surround them. Two
governmental agencies have determined that Pittsburg’s air quality is one of the worst in the
Bay Area, if not the State of California:

   ●   According to the regional environmental regulator, the Bay Area Air Quality Management
       District (BAAQMD), Pittsburg is in the top 15% of communities in the Bay Area that
       are most affected by air pollution. BAAQMD developed a new statistical measure for
       determining which communities experience the most direct health impacts from air


                                                                                                     9
       pollution, called the Pollution-Vulnerability Index. This index incorporates cancer rates,
       rates of early death, and increased healthcare costs. Using this method, BAAQMD
       found that Pittsburg is one of the most impacted communities in the Bay Area.15

   ●   Additionally, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment found
       that central Pittsburg -- the area of the proposed WesPac project -- is in the top
       10% of California communities experiencing adverse health effects due to multiple
       sources of pollution.16

According to the EPA’s Plan EJ 2014, the term “overburdened” describes a minority, low
income, tribal and indigenous populations or communities in the US that potentially experience
disproportionate environmental harms and risk due to exposures or cumulative impacts or
greater vulnerability to environmental hazards. This increased vulnerability may be attributed to
an accumulation of negative and lack of positive environmental, health, economic, or social
conditions within these populations or communities.17

In the area for the proposed WesPac Oil Terminal, the community census demographics include
43% Latino population and 24% Black population. Among the community that will be closest to
the proposed site, 46% are considered low income.18 The WesPac project would add additional
exposure to this community by increasing air emissions in an already sensitive area. According
to comments submitted to the Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report by the Natural
Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

       “The [Bay Area Air Quality Management] District also concluded in this assessment that
       the areas, including Pittsburg, with the highest pollution-vulnerability index also tended to
       have the highest proportion of non-white and lower income residents, creating a serious
       environmental justice problem. Thus the area is not a suitable location for increased
       industrial operations and increased air pollution. It is therefore inappropriate that the
       mitigation offered for operational air emissions that exceed safe thresholds is based
       entirely on regional emission reduction credits.”19




                                                                                                    10
                               Proposed WesPac Project

WesPac Energy, constructor of massive infrastructure projects, has proposed to build an
enormous oil storage and transfer facility in Pittsburg. WesPac’s oil terminal would bring in up to
10 million gallons of crude oil per day by ship, rail, and expanded pipelines. A new massive rail
terminal would accommodate more than 100 tanker cars each day carrying crude oil. WesPac’s
plan is to build on the somewhat decrepit, and currently decommissioned, PG&E tank “farm”
near the Pittsburg waterfront. The company’s reason for choosing the site is so they can use the
already existing infrastructure of storage tanks, railroad tracks, and pipelines.

The WesPac project is extremely large and clearly incompatible with the nearby residential
area. The proposed 125-acre terminal is less than half a mile from downtown Pittsburg, near
homes, schools, parks, and the waterfront. Some homes are only 87 feet from the rail terminal
site. There is no buffer zone between the industrial and residential areas, and there is no
buffer zone between the industrial area and Suisun Bay. According to NRDC’s comments to
the Recirculated Draft EIR:

       “This project will result in many Pittsburg residents being exposed to unhealthy levels of
       air pollution. In addition to substantial residential proximity to the proposed project, there
       are also many sensitive sites within one quarter of a mile of the proposed project
       including daycare and preschool facilities, schools, parks and churches (St. Peter Martyr
       School and Extended Care Facility, First Baptist Head Start, Parkside Elementary
       School, the Stewart Memorial Methodist Church, the First Baptist Church, City Park,
       Riverview Park and Marina Park).”

The proposed project is so large that it will have the capacity to handle about half of all the
oil currently refined in the Bay Area. According to a January 15, 2014 letter from the
California Attorney General to the City of Pittsburg detailing concerns about the project:

       “The total annual average throughput for the [WesPac] Project will be approximately
       88.3 million barrels per year, with a maximum throughput of over 136 million barrels
       per year. To put these numbers in context, all the refineries in California currently
       process well over 700 million barrels of oil annually, with Bay Area refineries
       processing 276 million barrels annually.”20

The location of the WesPac site also creates the potential for catastrophic consequences in the
event of a flood, earthquake and/or oil spill. The site is in both a flood zone and a liquefaction
zone. It is also situated along the northern Contra Costa County shoreline, immediately adjacent
to Suisun Bay. Suisun Bay is a brackish tidal marsh, considered one of the most diverse and
fragile types of ecosystem. The bay is situated in the California Bay Delta, the largest estuary
along the west coast of the Americas, where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers meet and
flow to the ocean. These rivers provide snowmelt from the Sierras and offer the most precious
of all of California’s natural resources: water for 25 million residents. Not only would a spill from
the WesPac terminal endanger this delicate wildlife area, but it also puts the Bay Area’s water
supply at unacceptable risk.

Accidents Can and Will Happen
A significant spill could devastate the Bay and the Delta because the dirtier, unconventional
crudes, such as tar sands or Bakken Shale crude, are even harder to clean up than regular oil


                                                                                                  11
spills. In the past few years, there have been terrible accidents in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec;
Kalamazoo, Michigan; Mayflower, Arkansas; and Casselton, North Dakota, where whole
communities had to be evacuated due to the explosive nature of the crude oils transported in
rail cars.

Significant oil-by-rail accidents that occurred in 2013:
   ● Lac-Mégantic, Quebec: A runaway train carrying crude oil crashed into the town of Lac-
        Mégantic, Quebec in July 2013. Of 72 rail cars, each carrying 30,000 gallons of oil, only
        9 cars remained unscathed. The explosion leveled 30 buildings and killed 47 people.
        According to Catherine Wallace, managing editor of the Montreal Gazette, the disaster
        raised serious questions “...about railway safety; about the transport of dangerous
        goods; about how uninformed municipalities are about what passes through their
        backyards; about U.S. vs. Canadian regulations.”

   ●   Casselton, North Dakota: A BNSF train carrying the particularly flammable Bakken light
       crude collided with another train outside of Casselton, North Dakota in December 2013.
       A total of 10 rail cars became fully engulfed in flames.

In the Pittsburg area, chemical plant K2 Pure Solutions had two accidents in 2013. According to
the Contra Costa Times, “the K2 plant uses the liquefaction unit to provide Dow's Pittsburg
operations with chlorine to make crop protection products and other materials. Other areas of
the K2 plant are used to produce bleach products used by other customers.”21

Most recently, on December 4, 2013, K2 Manufacturing had a chlorine leak, causing Contra
Costa Health Services to issue a public health advisory. Earlier in 2013, on January 21, they
had a leak that caused complaints from local dock workers who required medical attention.22




                                                                                                12
                           Citizen Air Sampling
           Bucket Brigade Projects: A Crucial Piece of the Puzzle

Building a trail of evidence
For an odor or pollution complaint, citizens can call the Bay Area Air Quality Management
District and/or the Department of Health depending on the nature of the complaint. Regulatory
and environmental agency personnel are not available at all hours to come out during a
pollution incident. The agencies are often underfunded and understaffed to send out a staff
person or investigator for each complaint. If agency personnel does investigate the complaint, it
can take hours, and sometimes days for the in person visit.

Community-based monitoring provides an opportunity for residents to respond immediately to a
pollution incident with sampling equipment and to contact agency personnel. Global Community
Monitor (GCM) trained members of the Pittsburg Defense Council and other community
members to keep a record of pollution incidents. These records include: the location, nature,
and duration of the pollution incident; the wind direction, health effects or property damage; and
how the incident was addressed (e.g., by a call to the regulatory agency, the company
suspected or known to be the source of the pollution, or informative calls to other neighbors).

Pollution incident records are referred to as “pollution logs.” Pollution logs filled out by
community members ensure that a record is maintained beyond regular agency business hours.
Community members are also encouraged to take pictures and/or use a video camcorder to
catch a visual image of the pollution.

Bucket Brigades provide evidence and hard science to support the anecdotal stories of health
impacts that all affected communities know too well: strange odors causing nausea, stinging
eyes, burning noses, sore throats, coughs, and other distressing health symptoms. Community-
based monitoring engages community members in record maintenance, site identification,
operation of monitoring equipment, documentation, and custody and shipping of the sample.

The information gathered by Bucket Brigades, combining science with community experience
and reports, helps bridge the gap between communities, regulators and industry. Air sampling
and monitoring can provide key evidence exposing chemical exposure, can be a tangible way to
show that the air pollution has decreased in a community, and can help build relationships
where community members coexist with their industrial neighbors.

Pittsburg Community Pollution Logs
Nine pollution logs were recorded for Pittsburg during the sampling period between December
14-31, 2013.

For example, a resident on Blue Heron Drive recorded six days of train-related noise. These
incidents included five days of train whistles, one log reported whistles at 2:26 am and 3:11 am,
and screeching train cars.


                                                                                                13
The resident also reported seeing black and white smoke coming from Los Medanos Energy
Center on six of nine days (some overlapped with the train whistle, others were separate
incidents).

Bucket Brigade Training
To begin a project, GCM conducts a research assessment of toxic hazards in a target
community and identifies the appropriate environmental monitoring tools that will assist
community members in investigating their health concerns and exposures. GCM reviews the
data on pollution sources and toxins and prioritizes the most serious for early action. All Bucket
Brigade trainings are conducted onsite, in the local community.

For this project, GCM was given a local tour that included monitoring site assessment by
community members in areas near downtown Pittsburg and the waterfront. During the training,
GCM provided a day-long classroom training, including background on pollution and
environmental health, how to document pollution incidents, hands-on use with the air monitor,
and how to use monitoring equipment. GCM also worked with local community members to co-
design an environmental sampling plan.

GCM’s training and plans emphasize standard scientific methods. Community members learn
how the monitoring equipment works, the best time to use it, and the appropriate paperwork to
fill out before shipping a sample to the lab. The Bucket Brigade’s work is strengthened by
following stringent Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) protocols and the use of EPA-
approved methods at the lab.

Air Monitoring Methods
Particulate Matter (PM) Monitoring Equipment
Various environmental agencies throughout the country recommend that a Mini Vol Portable Air
Sampler produced by Airmetrics be employed while monitoring for particulate matter. The Mini
Vol provides accurate and precise results, is easy to use, and can be moved from location to
location allowing for a broader assessment of how toxic air contaminants might be distributed in
the Pittsburg area.

The Mini Vol Portable Air Sampler samples ambient air for particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5 or
total suspended particulates -TSP) and/or non-reactive gases (CO, NOx). Airmetrics and the US
EPA jointly developed the patented low-flow technology used in the Mini Vol. While not a US
EPA Federal Reference Method sampler, the Mini Vol provides results that closely approximate
reference method data. Affordable and portable, the Mini Vol is ideal for saturation studies,
emergency response situations, fugitive emissions, prescribed burning sampling, and urban air
quality studies.

The Mini Vol is a pump unit that pulls air through a filter holder assembly, where particle size
separation occurs by impaction. The flow of air can be adjusted and, in this case, has been set
at five liters per minute. The particulate matter is collected on a 47 millimeter (mm) filter. The


                                                                                                 14
filters are weighed pre and post exposure by a microbalance, accurate to one microgram, to
determine the particulate concentration. The Mini Vol does not provide any real-time readout.
Samples are sent to a lab that utilizes EPA-approved methods for analysis.

Samples for this report used a variety of standard and accepted methodologies by a certified
laboratory for analysis. Particle samples were subjected to analysis for concentrations of PM2.5
by pre and post weighing analysis by Chester LabNet in Oregon. In addition, other filter samples
were analyzed for concentrations of diesel particulates by NIOSH method 5040 as Elemental
Carbon as compared to Organic Carbon (EC/OC).

The Mini Vol features include a seven day/six run programmable timer, an elapsed time meter,
low flow and low battery shut-offs, and operation from rechargeable battery packs. The Mini Vol
can sample for only one size of particulate at a time and can sample for PM10, PM2.5 or TSP
depending on the nozzle attachment used.

At the end of a particulate sampling period, the filter holder and battery pack are replaced by a
second filter holder and a second battery pack (two of each come standard with a new Mini Vol).
Once a sample is collected, the exposed filter is sent to the lab for post-exposure weighing and
analysis and a fresh, pre-weighed 47 mm filter is placed into the filter holder for the next sample
collection. Recharge of the spent battery is accomplished using a universal transformer
connected to a wall circuit. At certain sampling locations electrical power is available and the
Mini Vol is simply plugged in during sampling periods.

Prior to leaving the manufacturer, each Mini Vol sampler is calibrated using a Laminar Flow
Element and a calibration curve is included with each new sampler. The manufacturer requires
an annual re-calibration test to ensure Quality Control/Quality Assurance (QA/QC).

What We Tested For
Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and Diesel), according to the US EPA:
        “Particle pollution (also called particulate matter or PM) is the term for a mixture of solid
        particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or
        smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small
        they can only be detected using an electron microscope.

       Particle pollution includes "inhalable coarse particles," with diameters larger than 2.5
       micrometers and smaller than 10 micrometers and "fine particles," with diameters that
       are 2.5 micrometers and smaller. Think about a single hair from your head. The average
       human hair is about 70 micrometers in diameter – making it 30 times larger than the
       largest fine particle.23

Health impacts of fine particle (PM2.5) pollution exposure:

   ●   Fine particles are easily inhaled deep into the lungs where they may accumulate, react,
       be cleared or absorbed.


                                                                                                    15
   ●   Scientific studies have linked particle pollution, especially fine particles, with a series of
       significant health problems, including:
           ○ premature death in people with heart or lung disease,
           ○ nonfatal heart attacks,
           ○ irregular heartbeat,
           ○ aggravated asthma,
           ○ decreased lung function, and
           ○ increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or
               difficulty breathing.

   ●   Particle pollution can cause coughing, wheezing, and decreased lung function even in
       otherwise healthy children and adults.

   ●   Studies estimate that thousands of elderly people die prematurely each year from
       exposure to fine particles.

   ●   The average adult breathes 3,000 gallons of air per day.

   ●   According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children and infants are among the
       most susceptible to many air pollutants. Children have increased exposure compared
       with adults because of higher minute ventilation and higher levels of physical activity.

Given the proximity to industrial facilities, railroad lines and the freeway, this pilot study also
tested for diesel particulate. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA),

       “Diesel exhaust is a mixture of gases and particulates produced during the combustion
       of diesel fuel. The very small particles are known as diesel particulate matter, which
       consists primarily of solid elemental carbon (EC) cores with organic carbon (OC)
       compounds adhered to the surfaces. The organic carbon includes polyaromatic
       hydrocarbons (PAH), some of which cause cancer when tested in animals. Workers
       exposed to diesel exhaust face the risk of health effects ranging from irritation of the
       eyes and nose, headaches and nausea, to respiratory disease and lung cancer.”

In June 2012, a group of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) classified diesel
engine exhaust as a carcinogen – a substance that causes cancer. The International Agency for
Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the WHO, based its decision on what it calls
“sufficient evidence” that exposure to diesel exhaust causes lung cancer and “limited evidence”
that it increases the risk of bladder cancer. The new classification moves diesel fuel from the
category of “probably carcinogenic” to “carcinogenic.”24




                                                                                                      16
What We Tested For
Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and Diesel), according to the US EPA:
        “Particle pollution (also called particulate matter or PM) is the term for a mixture of solid
        particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or
        smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small
        they can only be detected using an electron microscope.




                                                                                                        17
                                 Air Monitoring Results

Pittsburg Defense Council conducted 10 air samples between December 14-31, 2013 in and
around Pittsburg, California.

Five (5) of the samples were analyzed for levels of very fine particulate matter (PM2.5); the other
five (5) samples were analyzed for levels of elemental carbon (EC) and organic carbon (OC).
EC sampling is a regular practice and indicator for diesel particulate.

According to Dr. Mark Chernaik with Science for Citizens, “This dataset has some of the highest
levels of very fine particulate matter (PM2.5) I have seen in filtered air samples collected in the
United States. Four of the five air samples contained PM2.5 exceeding the United States
Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) 24-hour (short-term) National Ambient Air Quality
Standard of 35 µg/m3. Overall, PM2.5 averaged 37.3 µg/m3, well above the US EPA annual
(long-term) National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 12.0 µg/m3.” 25

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) categorizes air quality using an
index based on 24-hour average levels of PM2.5. This index was revised as recently as
December 14th, 2012, and the PM2.5 levels associated with air quality categories is presented in
the chart below.26

The PM2.5 level of 58.8 µg/m3 collected at Pittsburg High School on December 16th-17th, dates
when school was in session and students were exposed to these levels of pollutants, should be
considered as “Unhealthy: Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and
members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects.” The other four PM2.5
level should be considered as “unhealthy for sensitive groups: ... persons with heart and lung
disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air.”

Dr. Chernaik continued, “With respect to the EC levels: This dataset has the highest levels of
elemental carbon (EC) I have observed in filtered air samples collected in the United States
(e.g. higher, on average, than in samples I have interpreted from Galena Park, Texas;
Rensselaer, New York; Lebec, California; Arvin, California; Wilmington, Delaware; and
Engelwood, Illinois).

   ●   When 24-hour EC levels at a location are above 1.36 µg/m3, then they are high enough
       to be associated with an excess risk of cardiovascular mortality two and three days post-
       exposure.

   ●   When 24-hour EC levels at a location are above 0.838 µg/m3, then they are high enough
       to be associated with an excess risk of cardiovascular and respiratory hospitalizations on
       the day of exposure

All five of the filtered air samples analyzed contained EC levels high enough to be associated


                                                                                                 18
with these health risks.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) ceased monitoring air quality in
Pittsburg at the end of 2008, when the Pittsburg air monitoring station was closed. New
construction in the area and a large increase in the lease cost made this closure necessary.
According to the BAAQMD:

       Pollution levels in Pittsburg have been found to be lower than nearby sites in Concord,
       Fairfield and Bethel Island. The national 8-hour ozone and the State 24-hour PM10
       standards were exceeded within the most recent 5 years at Pittsburg, but pollutant levels
       are lower than nearby stations.27

In comparing the Pittsburg dataset to PM2.5 levels the BAAQMD found at the nearby Concord,
ambient air quality monitoring station,28 PM2.5 levels at the nearby Concord station were
moderately high. These levels were not at all representative of air quality found by the Pittsburg
Defense Council Bucket Brigade on identical days in Pittsburgh. Therefore, the Pittsburg
Defense Council Bucket Brigade data from December 2013 makes a compelling argument to
reopen the Pittsburg air monitoring station that was closed at the end of 2008.

In the chart below, AIRNow Air Quality Index graph shows the ranges from good to hazardous
air quality. The PM2.5 data from Pittsburg would fall under “unhealthy for sensitive groups”
(orange) and “unhealthy” (red).




                                                                                                19
The revised AQI breakpoints are outlined in the table below:




                                                               20
                                                         Pittsburg Defense Council
                                                 Interpretation of PM2.5 and EC levels in air samples
                                                        By Mark Chernaik, Science for Citizens
                                                                      10-Jan-14


                                                                                                          Elemental                       Average PM2.5 at
  Lab ID      Pittsburg Locations         Sampling Dates            Field Notes             PM2.5                           TC
                                                                                                           Carbon                      Concord BAAQMD station
13-T4708   Pittsburg High School         12/16/13 - 12/17/13 Clear                                58.5           NA              NA            14.0
13-U1491   Pittsburg High School         12/17/13 - 12/18/13 Partly cloudy                         NA          1.602           11.83           29.6
13-T4709   420 W. 4th Street             12/23/13 - 12/24/13 Sunny, no clouds                     37.1           NA              NA            24.3
13-U1488   420 W. 4th Street             12/22/13 - 12/23/13 Sunny, no clouds                      NA          1.521           15.21           20.0
13-T4710   478 11th Street               12/24/13 - 12/25/13 Sunny, no clouds, haze               37.0           NA              NA            14.3
13-U1489   478 11th Street               12/25/13 - 12/26/13 Sunny, no clouds, haze                NA          1.818           15.33           18.4
13-T4711   267 Pebble Beach Loop         12/28/13 - 12/29/13 Sunny, no clouds                     10.2           NA              NA             7.7
13-U1492   267 Pebble Beach Loop         12/27/13 - 12/28/13 Sunny, no clouds                      NA          1.416           10.92           18.0
13-T4712   Parkside Dr. & Dimaggio       12/30/13 - 12/31/13 Sunny, no clouds                     43.9           NA              NA            26.3
13-U1490   Parkside Dr. & Dimaggio       12/29/13 - 12/30/13 Sunny, no clouds                      NA          1.593           13.77            8.5

Average                                                                                           37.3          1.59           13.41          18.11

                                     Health-based standards EPA 24-hour standard                  35.0 1.36 [FN 1]                             35.0
                                                            WHO 24-hour standard                  25.0 0.836 [FN 2]                            25.0
                                                            EPA annual standard (see note)        12.0                                         12.0
                                                            WHO annual standard                   10.0                                         10.0

                                                                                                                       excess risk of cardiovascular mortality two
                                                                                                         FN1
                                                                                                                       and three-days post exposure
                                                                                                                       excess risk of cardiovascular and
                                                                                                         FN2           respiratory hospitalizations on the day of
                                                                                                                       exposure




                                                                                                                                                              21
                                    Recommendations

City of Pittsburg: Reject the WesPac Proposal
Pittsburg Defense Council stands with thousands of Pittsburg residents and neighbors from
surrounding areas that the threats to public health, safety, air and water quality in the proposed
WesPac project are beyond unacceptable. Pittsburg Defense Council insists and demands that
city council of Pittsburg reject this unsafe and unhealthy project.

BAAQMD: Re-Install Air Monitors
The Pittsburg air monitoring station was closed at the end of 2008. PM2.5 levels in Pittsburg
showed a higher rate of exposure when compared to the nearby BAAQMD ambient air quality
monitor in Concord. Therefore, the Pittsburg Defense Council Bucket Brigade data from
December 2013 makes a compelling argument to reopen the Pittsburg air monitoring station
that was closed at the end of 2008.

BAAQMD: Designate Pittsburg as a CARE Community
The Community Air Risk Evaluation (CARE) program was initiated by Bay Area Air Quality
Management District (BAAQMD) in 2004 to evaluate and reduce health risks associated with
exposures to outdoor toxic air contaminants (TACs) in the Bay Area. According to the agency
website:
       “the program examines toxic air contaminants emissions from point sources, area
       sources and on-road and off-road mobile sources co-located with sensitive populations
       to help focus mitigation strategies. Starting in 2009, the CARE program began also
       evaluating exposures to fine particulate matter (PM) and helping to craft mitigations to
       reduce these exposures to address the growing evidence that exposure to fine particles
       has serious health effects.” 29

Pittsburg Defense Council supports the work being done by non-governmental organizations
and allies to designate Pittsburg as CARE community.




                                                                                                22
References

1
  City of Pittsburg, “Pittsburg Energy Infrastructure Project.” Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report (RD
EIR). Chapter 2. 13 September 2013. Copy of RDEIR can be found at:
http://www.ci.pittsburg.ca.us/index.aspx?page=700
2
  Data Analysis Report by the Contra Costa Health Services, January 2014. Copy of report can be found at:
http://gcmonitor.org/article.php?id=1740
3
  Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “2008 Air Monitoring Network Plan”. 1 July 2009.
http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Technical-Services/Ambient-Air-
Monitoring/~/media/35693B885FB249E7996FABE033A3F070.ashx
4
  Pittsburg Defense Council website at http://pittsburgdc.org/
5
  Global Community Monitor website at http://www.gcmonitor.org/
6
  City of Pittsburg, “General Plan.” Section 5: Downtown. 2009.
http://www.ci.pittsburg.ca.us/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=1395
7
  U.S. Census 2010. “Poverty Main” 14 January 2014. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/
8
  Health Indicators and Environmental Factors Related to Obesity for Antioch, Bay Point and Pittsburg, Contra Costa
Health Services, May 2013. http://cchealth.org/prevention/pdf/Health-Indicators-and-Environmental-Factors-Related-
to-Obesity-2013.pdf
9
  Data Analysis Report by Contra Costa Health Services, January 2014. http://gcmonitor.org/article.php?id=1740
10
   PDC’s online correspondence with Contra Costa Health Services Department, 8 January 2014.
11
   California Healthy Kids Survey, 2010-11: Main Report San Francisco: WestEd Health and Human Development
Program for the California Department of Education.
http://data1.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/HKids/HKSearchName.asp?TheYear=&cTopic=HKids&cLevel=District&cName=pitt
sburg&cCounty=&cTimeFrame=S
12
   Letter dated January 15, 2014 from State of California, Attorney General Kamala Harris to Associate Planner
Kristin V. Pollot http://pittsburgdc.org/2014/01/18
13
     Wyatt, Drewcillia. Personal interview. 15 January 2014.
14
   US EPA. “Envirofacts”. TRI search results. 6 November 2013. http://iaspub.epa.gov/enviro
15
   Martien, Phil. PhD. “Identifying Impacted Communities, Revised Mapping Method, Proposed Final. Bay Area Air
Quality Management District.13 April 2013
16
   California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. “California Communities Environmental Health
Screening Tool”. 13 September 2013. http://www.oehha.ca.gov/ej/ces11.html
17
   United States Enviromental Protection Agency. Plan EJ 2014. Document can be found at
http://www.epa.gov/compliance/ej/resources/policy/plan-ej-2014/plan-ej-overview.pdf
18
   Contra Costa Health Services, Demographics of neighborhood proximal to proposed WesPac site.
http://gcmonitor.org/article.php?id=1740
19
   Natural Resources Defense Council. “Comments on WesPac Pittsburg Energy Infrastructure Project”. Recirculated
Draft Environmental Impact Report (RD EIR). 13 September 2013. Document can be found at:
http://www.mediafire.com/folder/o5oiyj4jiganh/WesPac_Pittsburg_Energy_Infrastructure_P#wjb79g4nejtfm
20
   Letter dated January 15, 2014 from State of California, Attorney General Kamala Harris to Associate Planner
Kristin V. Pollot. Document can be found at: http://pittsburgdc.org/2014/01/18
21
   Mitchell, Eve. “Pittsburg: K2 Pure Solutions to resume partial operations this week”, Contra Costa Times, 31
December 2013. Online at http://www.contracostatimes.com/contra-costa-times/ci_24824311/k2-pure-solutions-
pittsburg-resume-partial-operations-this
22
   Contra Costa Health Services. 72 Hour follow-up notification report from Contra Costa Health Services. 21 January
2013. Online at http://cchealth.org/hazmat/pdf/2013-0121-K2-CL2-72-Hour-Report.pdf
23
   United States Environmental Protection Agency.. “Particulate Matter”, Basic Information. 18 March 2013.
http://www.epa.gov/pm/basic.html
24
   American Cancer Society. “World Health Organization Says Diesel Exhaust Causes Cancer”. 15 June 2012.
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/world-health-organization-says-diesel-exhaust-causes-cancer
25
   GCM’s online correspondence with Mark Chernaik, Science for Citizens 10 January 2014.
26
   United States Environmental Protection Agency . Revised Air Quality Standards for Particulate Pollution and
Updates to the Air Quality Index (AQI). Document can be found at http://www.epa.gov/pm/2012/decfsstandards.pdf




                                                                                                                 23
27
     Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “2008 Air Monitoring Network Plan”. 1 July 2009.
http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Technical-Services/Ambient-Air-
Monitoring/~/media/35693B885FB249E7996FABE033A3F070.ashx
28
   Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “Meteorology, Daily”. Concord. 20 January 2014.
http://gate1.baaqmd.gov/aqmet/MetSiteView.aspx?SID=2903
29
   Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “CARE Program”. 4 April 2013.
http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Planning-and-Research/CARE-Program.aspx




                                                                                                  24
                    CONTACT INFORMATION




Pittsburg Defense Council        Global Community Monitor
       P.O. Box 1313                   P.O. Box 1784
    Pittsburg, Ca 94565             El Cerrito, CA 94530
     Ph. 925-338-7321                Ph. 510-233-1870
 pittsburgdc@gmail.com            program@gcmonitor.org

				
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